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The Economic Vote
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  • 25 tables
  • Page extent: 418 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.64 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521707404)

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THE ECONOMIC VOTE



This book proposes a selection model for explaining cross-national variation in economic voting: Rational voters condition their economic vote on whether incumbents are responsible for economic outcomes because this is the optimal way to identify and elect competent economic managers under conditions of uncertainty. This model explores how political and economic institutions alter the quality of the signal that the previous economy provides about the competence of candidates. The rational economic voter is also attentive to strategic cues regarding the responsibility of parties for economic outcomes and their electoral competitiveness. Theoretical propositions are derived linking variation in economic and political institutions to variability in economic voting. The authors demonstrate that there is economic voting, and that it varies significantly across political contexts, and then test explanations for this variation derived from their theory. The data consist of 165 election studies conducted in 19 different countries over a 20-year time period.

Raymond M. Duch is University Professor of Quantitative Political Science at Oxford University and Professorial Fellow at Nuffield College. Prior to holding these positions, he was the Senator Don Henderson Scholar in Political Science at the University of Houston. An authority on the application of formal theories and quantitative methods to questions in comparative political economy, public opinion research, and democratization, his research has been published in the leading journals in political science, including the American Journal of Political Science, the American Political Science Review, the British Journal of Political Science, and Political Analysis. Among his award-winning articles are “It’s Not Whether You Win or Lose,” which won the 2001 Robert H. Durr Award for analysis in quantitative methods, and “The Global Economy, Competency, and the Economic Vote,” which won the Best Paper in Political Economy Award in 2006. Professor Duch is an Associate Editor of the American Journal of Political Science. He is also the author of Privatizing the Economy: Telecommunications Policy in Comparative Perspective (1991).

Randolph T. Stevenson is Associate Professor of Political Science at Rice University in Houston, Texas. His professional research applies quantitative and formal approaches to questions of comparative political behavior, party competition, and cabinet government in parliamentary democracies. Professor Stevenson’s research has been published in the leading journals in political science, including the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, the British Journal of Political Science, Social Choice, Electoral Studies, and Political Analysis.





POLITICAL ECONOMY OF INSTITUTIONS AND DECISIONS



Series Editor
Stephen Ansolabehere, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Founding Editors
James E. Alt, Harvard University
Douglass C. North, Washington University, St. Louis

Other books in the series
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Lee J. Alston, Thráainn Eggertsson, and Douglass C. North, eds., Empirical Studies in Institutional Change

Lee J. Alston and Joseph P. Ferrie, Southern Paternalism and the Rise of the
American Welfare State: Economics, Politics, and Institutions, 1865–1965

James E. Alt and Kenneth Shepsle, eds., Perspectives on Positive Political Economy

Josephine T. Andrews, When Majorities Fail: The Russian Parliament, 1990–1993

Jeffrey S. Banks and Eric A. Hanushek, eds., Modern Political Economy: Old Topics, New Directions

Yoram Barzel, Economic Analysis of Property Rights, 2nd edition

Yoram Barzel, A Theory of the State: Economic Rights, Legal Rights, and the Scope of the State

Robert Bates, Beyond the Miracle of the Market: The Political Economy of Agrarian Development in Kenya, 2nd edition

Charles M. Cameron, Veto Bargaining: Presidents and the Politics of Negative Power

Kelly H. Chang, Appointing Central Bankers: The Politics of Monetary Policy in the United States and the European Monetary Union

Peter Cowhey and Mathew McCubbins, eds., Structure and Policy in Japan and the United States: An Institutionalist Approach

Gary W. Cox, The Efficient Secret: The Cabinet and the Development of Political Parties in Victorian England

Gary W. Cox, Making Votes Count: Strategic Coordination in the World’s Electoral System

Gary W. Cox and Jonathan N. Katz, Elbridge Gerry’s Salamander. The Electoral Consequences of the Reapportionment 2Revolution

Jean Ensminger, Making a Market: The Institutional Transformation of an African Society

David Epstein and Sharyn O’Halloran, Delegating Powers: A Transaction Cost Politics Approach to Policy Making under Separate Powers

Kathryn Firmin-Sellers, The Transformation of Property Rights in the Gold Coast: An Empirical Study Applying Rational Choice Theory

Clark C. Gibson, Politicians and Poachers: The Political Economy of Wildlife Policy in Africa

Stephen Haber, Armando Razo, and Noel Maurer, The Politics of Property Rights: Political Instability, Credible Commitments, and Economic Growth in Mexico, 1876–1929

Ron Harris, Industrializing English Law: Entrepreneurship and Business Organization, 1720–1844

Anna L. Harvey, Votes without Leverage: Women in American Electoral Politics, 1920–1970

Murray Horn, The Political Economy of Public Administration: Institutional Choice in the Public Sector

John D. Huber, Rationalizing Parliament: Legislative Institutions and Party Politics in France

Jack Knight, Institutions and Social Conflict

Michael Laver and Kenneth Shepsle, eds., Cabinet Ministers and Parliamentary Government

Michael Laver and Kenneth Shepsle, eds., Making and Breaking Governments: Cabinets and Legislatures in Parliamentary Democracies

Margaret Levi, Consent, Dissent, and Patriotism

Brian Levy and Pablo T. Spiller, eds., Regulations, Institutions, and Commitment: Comparative Studies of Telecommunications

Leif Lewin, Ideology and Strategy: A Century of Swedish Politics (English edition)

Gary Libecap, Contracting for Property Rights

John Londregan, Legislative Institutions and Ideology in Chile

Arthur Lupia and Mathew D. McCubbins, The Democratic Dilemma: Can Citizens Learn What They Need to Know?

C. Mantzavinos, Individuals, Institutions, and Markets

Mathew D. McCubbins and Terry Sullivan, eds., Congress: Structure and Policy

Gary J. Miller, Managerial Dilemmas: The Political Economy of Hierarchy

Douglass C. North, Institutions, Institutional Change, and Economic Performance

Elinor Ostrom, Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action

J. Mark Ramseyer, Odd Markets in Japanese History: Law and Economic Growth

J. Mark Ramseyer and Frances Rosenbluth, The Politics of Oligarchy: Institutional Choice in Imperial Japan

Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, The Fruits of Revolution: Property Rights, Litigation, and French Agriculture, 1700–1860

Michael L. Ross, Timber Booms and Institutional Breakdown in Southeast Asia

Alastair Smith, Election Timing

Shanker Satyanath, Globalization, Politics, and Financial Turmoil: Asia’s Banking Crisis

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John Waterbury, Exposed to Innumerable Delusions: Public Enterprise and State Power in Egypt, India, Mexico, and Turkey

David L. Weimer, ed., The Political Economy of Property Rights: Institutional
Change and Credibility in the Reform of Centrally Planned Economies





THE ECONOMIC VOTE

How Political and Economic Institutions Condition
Election Results



RAYMOND M. DUCH
Nuffield College, Oxford University

RANDOLPH T. STEVENSON
Rice University





CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo, Delhi

Cambridge University Press
32 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10013-2473, USA

www.cambridge.org
Information on this title: www.cambridge.org/9780521881029

© Raymond M. Duch and Randolph T. Stevenson 2008

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception
and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements,
no reproduction of any part may take place without
the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2008

Printed in the United States of America

A catalog record for this publication is available from the British Library.

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Duch, Raymond M., 1953–
The Economic vote : how political and economic institutions condition election results / Raymond M. Duch, Randolph T. Stevenson.
   p.   cm. – (Political economy of institutions and decisions)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-521-88102-9 (hbk.) – ISBN 978-0-521-70740-4 (pbk.)
1. Voting – Economic aspects. 2. Elections – Economic aspects. Ⅰ. Stevenson, Randolph T. Ⅱ. Title. Ⅲ. Series.
JF1001.D825      2008
324.9–dc22         2007026982

ISBN 978-0-521-88102-9 hardback
ISBN 978-0-521-70740-4 paperback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for
the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or
third-party Internet Web sites referred to in this publication
and does not guarantee that any content on such
Web sites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.





Dedicated to my parents, Duke and Shirley Duch
R. M. D.

Dedicated to Rick Gritz
R. T. S.





Contents



Preface page xi
1   Introduction 1
Part I:  Describing the Economic Vote in Western Democracies
2   Defining and Measuring the Economic Vote 39
3   Patterns of Retrospective Economic Voting in Western Democracies 62
4   Estimation, Measurement, and Specification 94
Part II:  A Contextual Theory of Rational Retrospective Economic Voting: Competency Signals
5   Competency Signals and Rational Retrospective Economic Voting 131
6   What Do Voters Know about Economic Variation and Its Sources? 148
7   Political Control of the Economy 178
Part III:  A Contextual Theory of Rational Retrospective Economic Voting: Strategic Voting
8   Responsibility, Contention, and the Economic Vote 209
9   The Distribution of Responsibility and the Economic Vote 252
10   The Pattern of Contention and the Economic Vote 287
Part IV:  Conclusion and Summary
11   Conclusion 337
Appendix A 359
Appendix B 367
Appendix C 370
References 373
Index 391




Preface



As our friends, families, and colleagues will attest – and bemoan – this book has taken almost eight years to complete. The ultimate product has little in common with the initial idea that we intended to explore, which was examining the extent to which the impact of the “real” economy on political behavior is mediated by its representation in the electronic and print media. We got side-tracked with the question of whether there was, in fact, an economic vote and whether it varied across contexts in any significant fashion. And then we decided we needed to come up with a theory to explain this contextual variation.

   Our treatment of the economic vote in this book is a significant departure from much of the comparative economic voting literature. One of its novel aspects is that it takes seriously the importance of writing down a rigorous theoretical model of the vote decision and of precisely how context conditions the importance of economic evaluations in the voter’s preference function.

   We hope our readers will appreciate that this has been an ambitious project both in our effort at developing a theory of the economic vote and in our determination to assemble and analyze the appropriate data for testing these theoretical hypotheses. We could not have accomplished these tasks without generous support from a number of funding institutions and academic institutions. Most importantly, we benefited from a National Science Foundation grant (#SBR-0215633) that enabled us to undertake the ambitious data collection and analysis.

   We also extend our sincere gratitude to our home academic institutions. They have been particularly supportive and patient – the University of Houston, where Ray was based for much of the project, as well as Nuffield College, Oxford University, where he has spent the past year, and Rice University, where Randy is based. The initial work on this project occurred while Ray, at the generous invitation of Dave Brady, was a visiting scholar at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University.

   We both owe a particular debt to our advisor, Bingham Powell, who, whether he likes it or not, is responsible for our commitment to a truly cross-national approach to explaining the economic vote. He has also been extremely supportive of the project and provided helpful comments. We are also indebted to Jim Alt who, very early in the project, took some time out from his busy American Political Science Association (APSA) schedule to have coffee with us. In his inimical fashion, he posed the obvious question: “Guys, why do you think anyone would be interested in this?” And then, of course, Jim proceeded to suggest precisely what questions about comparative economic voting are important and interesting. His early, very critical review of the manuscript proved particularly helpful. Michael Lewis-Beck has been wonderfully supportive of our project, and we have benefited tremendously from the wisdom of the “dude’s” many years studying the comparative economic vote. An early, and premature, APSA roundtable discussion (2005!) of the book “manuscript” provided invaluable insights at an important juncture in its development. In addition to Jim Alt, Michael Lewis-Beck, and Bingham Powell, we thank the additional roundtable participants Rob Franzese and Jonathan Nagler (and Doug Hibbs, who provided detailed comments in absentia). And, as we finally completed the manuscript, we were particularly heartened by the positive reaction we received from Steve Ansolabehere, who had just assumed the editorship of the Cambridge University Press Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions series.

   We would like to acknowledge and thank the participants of seminars at the University of Houston (2002), Princeton University (2004), Université de Montréal (2004), New York University (2006), the European University Institute Conference on Contextual Effects in Electoral Research (2006), the Nuffield Politics Seminar Series (2006), Washington University (2006), the European University Institute Conference on Electoral Forecasting Models (2007), University of California, Los Angeles (2007), not to mention the participants on the countless panels at the annual meetings of the APSA and Midwest Political Science Association where we presented various versions of book chapters. Among the numerous participants at these venues who provided insightful comments we thank Ken Benoit, Geoff Evans, Mark Franklin, Mark Kayser, Orit Kedar, Michael Marsh, Harvey Palmer, Meredith Rolfe, Josh Tucker, Wouter van der Brug, Cees van der Eijk, Lynn Vavrek, and Guy Whitten.

   This project has involved the analysis of many public opinion surveys, and we are indebted to the various national and international entities that have funded these studies and made them widely available to the public. These include national elections studies that were initiated in the United States in 1948 but have since spread to most developed democracies in the world. Our study would have been impossible without the rich, comparative electoral data that are available in the Euro-Barometer Studies and in the studies that make up the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems. We hope this book and the findings we report here are testimony to the importance of continuing these and similar efforts at providing comparative electoral behavior data.

   As a result of the proliferation of national election studies and multi-nation electoral surveys there exists an abundance of voter preference data. The challenge was collecting all of these data and getting them into a format that we could use to estimate the models that are the foundation of the empirical work in this book. And to estimate properly specified models employing these very diverse voter preference studies, we undertook an extensive review of the electoral behavior literature related to each of the 19 countries in our study. These data collection and cleaning tasks and detailed reviews of the electoral behavior literature were completed by our graduate students, to whom we are truly indebted. Accordingly, we thank Jeff May, Beth Miller, Chandru Swaminathan (our IT “guru”), Jessy Tyler, and Toshi Yuasa. We and our graduate students were also assisted by Guillermo Useche Gonzalez and Federico Orozco during our data-gathering efforts in Spain – we thank them for their help.

   Much of the creative efforts and the more tedious data work associated with this project took place at Ray’s home, Le Tournié, in France. We and our graduate students owe a debt of gratitude to Crisanto Hernandez, who so competently managed the practical, day-to-day details of these research meetings. And finally, a special thanks to Scott Parris at Cambridge University Press, our editor, who at an early stage in the gestation of this project responded so positively to our efforts and continued to encourage us over the lengthy time it took us to complete the manuscript.


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